Even though I feel we are living in the land of plenty (by which I mean Clallam County specifically, not the USA as a whole) the issues in this article are pertinent even here. We have a wonderful local dairy, many viable produce farms, and local meat and fish.
But don't have local cream and butter, due to the vagaries of regulation that would make our dairy farmer a food processor if he had a cream separator, which would make him subject to all sorts of onerous requirements. He would have to pave the parking lot of his small on-farm store, have handicapped parking, have public restrooms. And that's just the beginning.
The fact that farmers can't slaughter the animals they raise means that custom butchers have to do the job, raising the price of the meat and giving the farmers less control. They don't even get all of the parts of their animals back, and who really knows if they are getting their own well-raised beasts back at all? After investing so much time and energy into pasturing animals the way they were meant to be raised, does it seem right to send them off to some other place in the end?
If we don't have local processing, we don't really have a local foodshed. We add transportation costs, the labor of outside processors, possible contamination, and all sorts of other complications. We have to take control back from the conglomerates--who created the rules that are keeping our local farmers from serving us directly. The rules may have been put into place in the name of efficiency and safety, but the reality is that they only serve the interests of huge agribusiness.
Buy local, and insist loudly that it be TRULY local, made and processed close to home. Know your farmer!